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Another Judge Upholds Health Reform Law

Senior U.S. District Judge Gladys Kessler, who sits on the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, has ruled that the health reform law's...
March 1, 2011

Senior U.S. District Judge Gladys Kessler, who sits on the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, has ruled that the health reform law's mandate to carry health insurance is constitutionally valid and arguments against it are "pure semantics."

Kessler said those who decline to purchase health insurance "will benefit greatly when they become ill, as they surely will, from the free health care which must be provided by emergency rooms and hospitals to the sick and dying who show up on their doorstep." She added that "those who choose not to purchase health insurance will ultimately get a 'free ride' on the backs of those Americans who have made responsible choices to provide for the illness we all must face at some point in our lives."

So far, three district court judges have ruled in favor of the healthcare law and two have ruled against it. One who ruled against found the individual mandate to be unconstitutional. In the most recent case, Judge Robert Vinson in the Northern District of Florida dismissed the entire law. The Justice Department has petitioned for a clarification of whether the judge intended the act to be invalidated prior to appeals, which may be heard this spring. Ultimately, the U.S. Supreme Court may rule on the constitutionality of the law.

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